COVID-19 - As Ontario reopens, learn about public health and workplace safety measures. Learn about the COVID-19 vaccination and service disruptions.

COVID-19 Guidance for the Community

Help Niagara stick it to COVID-19

Through vaccination and other public health measures, we're making progress in ending this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has taken action to stay safe. You're making a huge difference in protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community. Learn about the provincial status of COVID-19.

Provincial plan to reopen Ontario

The province has announced a plan to safely reopen Ontario and manage COVID-19 for the long-term. This plan outlines when some public health and workplace measures are expected to be lifted.

It's important to know that the dates outlined in the plan may change. The province will look at the current data, such as hospitalizations, when deciding to lift more measures. We must continue to remain vigilant so we don't lose the progress we made in ending this pandemic and to avoid any further disruption to businesses.

Prevent COVID-19

The most important measure keeping our society safer is vaccination. If you haven't already done so, get vaccinated. Also, continue to practise behaviours to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as staying home and getting tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms, wearing a face covering and more.

We've learned that some people who are fully vaccinated can still get COVID-19. The good news is that these breakthrough cases are uncommon and when they do happen, they're usually mild. More importantly:

  • Most COVID-19 infections are in unvaccinated people. Cases among fully vaccinated individuals are far less likely.
  • Serious illness, such as needing hospitalization or being on a ventilator, is very rare among fully vaccinated people. Almost all people hospitalized are unvaccinated.

Safe gatherings

We know you want to have safe gatherings with people you don't live with indoors. As we enter the fall and winter months, remember:

  • Gatherings are safest when they're virtual. Gathering outdoors is safer than indoors. The less people who gather, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Regardless of setting, you can wear a face covering and physically distance if you feel it's right for you, especially if you or others are immunocompromised or at high-risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.
  • It's important to remember that knowing someone doesn't reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19

Together, let's all continue to do our part to end this pandemic and keep Niagara safe, healthy and open.

Frequently asked questions

Prevention

School and child care

Travel

General information

  • What do I need to know about variants in Niagara?

    All viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, mutate over time. A virus with one or more mutations is a variant. Some mutations can change the characteristics '' of a virus, such as how it spreads, making it a variant of concern. COVID-19 variants of concern include:

    • Alpha (B.1.1.7) - first identified in the United Kingdom
    • Beta (B.1.351) - first identified in South Africa
    • Gamma (P.1) - first identified in Brazil
    • Delta (B.1.617) - first identified in India

    You can see Niagara's daily case count for these variants.

    We're concerned about these variants because they:

    • Appear to spread more easily and quickly than other variants
    • Increase risk of severe illness and death

    All variants may increase the risk of re-infection for people who already had COVID-19.

    All Health Canada approved vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant.

    Actions you take to prevent COVID-19 will protect you against variants. Get vaccinated and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • I had a COVID-19 test, when can I return to work?

    Niagara Region Public Health doesn't recommend that employers require testing or doctor's notes for return to work. Some individuals will continue to test positive for COVID-19 for many months, long after they're no longer contagious.

    For more information, see:

  • Who do I call if I have a concern around the face covering by-law not being followed?
    During normal business hours, concerns around enforcement should be directed to your municipality's by-law office. After 4:30 p.m., please call Niagara Region's dispatch line at 905-984-3690 or 1-877-552-5579. Do not call 911. Regional or local by-law enforcement or Niagara Regional Police Services may respond to reports of significant or ongoing non-compliance.
  • I have a pre-existing health condition (e.g. allergies, asthma, migraines and diarrhea) but my employer has asked me to get tested for COVID-19. What should I do?

    Some of the mild symptoms of COVID-19, such as a runny or congested nose, headaches or diarrhea can be attributed to other pre-existing health conditions.

    It's important to seek guidance from a health care provider or self-refer for testing at a Niagara Health COVID-19 Assessment Centre if you have even one mild symptom associated with COVID-19. There is specific guidance for children with symptoms.

  • How many Niagara residents have been tested for COVID-19?
    In Niagara, we have many health care providers doing COVID-19 testing, and unfortunately, Ontario has no central repository to know exactly how many tests have been done in each local region.

    Niagara Health does the majority of Niagara's COVID-19 testing at their assessment centres. Niagara Health's testing numbers don't account for the testing done by other doctor's offices in our community, for example in:

    • Long-term care homes
    • Retirement homes
    • Hospice care
    • Or by a mobile paramedic team that travels to peoples homes who are unable to visit a testing site

    Also, some Niagara residents seek testing outside of Niagara. For example, West Niagara residents are tested at the Stoney Creek Assessment Centre.

    We work with our health care partners to test anyone who might be a case of COVID-19, even if they have unusual or mild symptoms. We want to find every case of COVID-19 in Niagara so that we can isolate them, isolate their contacts and stop every chain of transmission.

    Community members who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and contact their health care professional or self-refer for testing at an assessment centre. See specific guidance for adults and children with symptoms.

    If there are remaining questions, call our COVID-19 Info-Line to speak with a public health professional by calling 905-688-8248, then press 2.

    Community members who have symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate and contact their health care professional or call our COVID-19 Info-line to speak with a public health professional by calling 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 2.

    For more information about testing in Niagara, we encourage you to watch this video from Dr. Hirji.

  • Am I at risk for COVID-19 from mail, packages or products?
    After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. If you want to be extra cautious, retrieve the package / envelope 24 hours after delivery.

    Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about safe handling of deliveries and mail.

  • I live outside of Niagara. Can you help me?

    We encourage you to call your local public health agency. The COVID-19 recommendations in Niagara may be different from where you live. Recommendations can vary based on the demographics of each region and the Medical Officer of Health leading the COVID-19 response.

  • Why are the COVID-19 numbers reported differently by various sources?
    Results posted by Niagara Health may differ from the results posted on our Niagara Region Public Health COVID-19 webpage or posted by the Ontario Ministry of Health:

    • Due to the time of day when data is reported
    • Statistics reported by Niagara Health are for persons tested by Niagara Health. Their results do not include persons tested elsewhere in Niagara (for example through primary care) and may include persons who reside outside of Niagara
    • Niagara Region Public Health reports only results pertaining to Niagara residents

    Our COVID-19 webpage is updated daily at noon.

  • How do I access my COVID-19 test results?

    For information on how to access your test results, visit testing and lab results for COVID-19 or watch this video to learn how to find your COVID-19 test results.

  • How is COVID-19 transmitted?

    The virus transmits from person to person through coughing and sneezing, just like the common cold or flu.

  • Why is flu activity in Niagara so low?

    Niagara Region Public Health monitors flu (influenza) activity. The number of cases of the flu has remained low so far this year because:

    • The public is getting vaccinated more than in past years
    • People are following the public health measures recommended to slow COVID-19, such as cleaning your hands, physical distancing, and wearing a face covering
    • There's been a dramatic drop in travel

    However, there are also years where we don't see much flu until December or January, so we should all take precautions and remain vigilant to keep flu low while we're busy fighting COVID-19.

  • Does the COVID-19 test detect influenza too?

    Yes, depending on which test is used. Your health care provider will pick the test that's right for your health needs.

    Some of the tests used to detect COVID-19 also detect other respiratory viruses. One of them is influenza, commonly called the flu. Other tests detect only COVID-19.

    Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, and it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. You may need a COVID-19 test to help confirm a COVID-19 or influenza diagnosis.

    All flu cases and COVID-19 laboratory-confirmed cases are reported on our website.

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